The Relative Age Effect In Malaysia Youth Athletes

by Shaza Mohd Shah, Dr. Jeffrey Low Fook Lee, Nursyaidatul Hafiza Madzlan, Saidatul Nur Syuhadah Mohamed Sabadri, and Maisarah Mohd Saleh

International Conference on Movement, Health and Exercise  MoHE : Enhancing Health and Sports Performance by Design. (2019), Pages 71-79


The over-representation and selection of players born in the early part of a year compared to those born later is called the relative age effect (RAE). Previous studies have shown this phenomenon exist among popular sport such as ice hockey and football. The over representation of relatively older and biologically matured players were assumed due to bigger physique, thus provide more advantage.

The aim for this study was initially to determine if a relative age effect present in the sample of athletes competing in MSSM across Malaysia in 2015. The athletes birth date (n = 9,756) athletes participating the 2015 MSSM national level age group (U12, U15, U18) competitions) were obtained from the Director of Sports Department, Ministry of Education Malaysia. The Chi-square goodness of fit test was used to analyze on each age group between female and male and overall data of each age group.

The result showed there were an existence of RAE in female and male athletes in each age group and also the present of RAE. There were more players born in the first three months of the year (Jan–Mar) compared to the last three (Oct–Dec). The over representation of early born players is suggested that they may have been selected based on their physical advantage and the selectors may have missed out skillful but physically less advantaged players.

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